Entries in health (2)


Health and Wellness

Is flu season over yet? Just when you think spring has arrived, and you are out of the woods, it hits you. Like that last winter weather event, just after you took off the snow tires.

At this time of year, it's a matter of recharging the batteries, gearing up for spring. Can't wait for the warmer, friendlier weather, and the sense of purpose and energy that comes with it. I've been busy with a lot of editorial work so far this year. For some reason, most of it has been health related.

Yes, I am fine, thank you. Doing well. But this kind of work can make you start self-diagnosing.

So here's my recent medical history, illustration-wise.

Learning to Say No to Dialysis, written by Paula Span for the New York Times Science section. Art director Audrey Razgaitis and Cathy Gilmore Barnes.

Becoming Bionic, for the Robb Report, about advances in transplant technology. Art director Lisa Lewis.


Remembering Mom - a woman reflects on the legacy of her mother after her passing. For Texas Co-op Monthly, art director Jane Sharpe.

 And lastly, here's a full-page illustration for Reader's Digest Canada. It's a testimonial of a woman who endured two years of a debilitating spinal condition, suffering misdiagnosis, confusion and then a full resolution of her health problems. Not really my kind of story, but my Mom was totally impressed by seeing this published.



Under the Knife

I developed serious back problems about a year ago. I can't identify why it began, but by the time I had surgery I could barely move. I couldn't walk or stand for more than 2 minutes at a time. An MRI revealed a bulging disk, sitting directly on my sciatic nerve. 

It's been two weeks since the operation. Feeling better every day. It's nice to be given a second chance. When you live with pain, it wears you down. The operation removed the source of the pain, and I have pulled back and stopped everything, to give myself the time to mend. The scars are healing over and my energy is coming back. Everything has gone according to plan, no complications.  Thanks to my surgeon, and thanks to my understanding family. A new beginning.

My springtime roster usually revolves around gardening and cycling. I will be back on the bike at the end of June and my family has pitched in to take care of the yard. I had an intensely busy spring, so I welcomed the time off. I am looking at buyng a new desk chair to minimize the risk of recurring problems. I am sure there are other illustrators out there who have ended up in the same situation. (I'd like to hear your story).

So now it's time to get back to work. Enough about discussing my medical issues, I don't intend to dwell on it, or show you my surgical scars. I did acquire a certain empathy and deeper understanding of the medical system and the people involved. So why not show a couple of recent assignments?

I worked on the above illustration the day I got my MRI. The artwork was for an article about the invasiveness and dubious benefits of screening procedures. I worked with art director Peter Morance from the New York Times. His initial message was about colonoscopies and I gasped a little when I got the message. Not a topic that brings great visuals to mind. I went through a pile of sketches to arrive at a conceptual, non-specific final. Relief.

I have another image from a short story, about the mindset of a man in the process of getting a vasectomy. I've had this discussion with lots of guys my age. The whole pros and cons and sitting on a bag of peas for a week argument. Is it worth it? I guess you could say it's a man's right to choose. Had fun with the snipping scissors imagery on this one.